Missed Opportunities ...
The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (12-7, 9-7 ACC) had plenty of chances to stay in the game against the Wolf Pack on Sunday afternoon, but missed layups and lackluster defense in the paint did Syracuse in against one of the best teams in the nation. The Orange allowed NC State 40 points in the painted area, the majority of which came in transition where the Wolfpack outscored SU 17-to-6 for the game. Tiana Mangakahia recorded five assists – the floor general would have had at least eight total (around her season average) if opportunities for easy looks at the rim were converted throughout the game.
As for Syracuse's offense, it was stagnant to start the game. The Orange shot just 33% from the floor in the first quarter in comparison to NC State’s 47%. Despite the difference in shooting efficiency, the Orange found itself down a mere three points as the buzzer sounded for the conclusion of the first period.
SU was able to stay afloat on offense thanks to senior guard Kiara Lewis filling up the scoreboard as the rest of the team struggled to shoot from the floor. Lewis was the only Orange to score in double figures in the first half, and one of two for the game, as she filled up the stat sheet with 15 points at an impressive 7-of-12 clip – Lewis would go on to finish the contest with a 29-point outing as she played from tip-off to the final buzzer. The second-leading scorer for the Orange at half was senior Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, who was fittingly honored, along with Amaya Finklea-Guity, before tip-off for senior day. Despite the loss, Djaldi-Tabdi played one of her best games of the season. What stood out most was her grit and toughness. In just 19 minutes of action, Djaldi-Tabdi blocked four shots and hauled in six rebounds, along with 9 points.
In the final game of the season at the Carrier Dome for the women’s basketball team, NC State ruined SU’s perfect home record (now 8-1) – moreover, the game was also Tiana Mangakahia’s final one at the dome. With the loss, Syracuse drops to the fifth seed in the ACC Tournament and will not have a double bye.
On the bright side, the women are far from done as they have the ACC Tournament to look forward to. Today's defeat against the Wolf Pack was tough, especially at home, but the Orange proved once again that it can compete with the best in the nation for four quarters ... any given day.